Dear Faculty Colleagues,
We hope that your winter break was wonderful and restful! Please know how grateful we are for the admirable work you do every day to help our students learn, grow, and thrive at Idaho State University. Students often cite having a positive connection with a faculty member as the number one reason why they chose ISU, why they stay at ISU, and why they achieve success in their lives after graduation. Without you, and the teaching, mentoring, and guidance you provide, that connection and opportunity for growth and success would be limited. During these challenging times, these connections become even more vital for our students and their continued success. Thank you for everything you do and have done for our students and our University community.
As we move into the new year and the beginning of spring semester, we also want to provide guidance about our continuing COVID-related practices on campus. Please note that President Satterlee is planning to send a campus email to all faculty, staff, and students tomorrow about the COVID-19 situation this upcoming semester. In Academic Affairs, we want to reiterate the importance of flexibility and making accommodations for students who are absent because of illness, quarantine, or other extenuating circumstances. We understand that making these accommodations is often challenging and time consuming. However, in an effort to support our students, maintain their educational progress, and preserve a face-to-face (F2F) teaching environment, it is of vital importance that we provide this flexibility.
Please spend some time with students on the first day of class speaking about what to do if they are ill and how you can support their academic success in these situations. Please encourage students to reach out to you when absences are anticipated.
Below are some thoughts and suggestions for possible accommodations for student absences:
- If possible, hold class with a Zoom option. This will allow students to attend when circumstances require their absence from a F2F classroom.
Consider recording your lectures. If you need help, please contact the Instructional Technology Resource Center. They have an outstanding staff ready to assist and support you.
- If appropriate, please consider extending assignment deadlines.
- Consider the possibility of pedagogically appropriate make-up assignments.
As for exams and quizzes, the ITRC also provides access to online proctoring that can help students keep up with the testing schedules in your class.
We also want to provide you with guidance on additional classroom organization that may help our University's COVID-19 Contact Tracing team.
- When possible, please implement seating charts for your classes. This will expedite contact tracing and help to keep F2F classes progressing while mitigating risk to others.
- Remind students (and others) that face coverings are required in all indoor spaces (not just classrooms). If you or your students are in need of clear, windowed masks you may obtain these through the Disability Services Office.
Finally, please let those working remotely, or students attending entirely online, know that they should test positive for COVID that they should still fill out self-report forms.
Thank you all for ensuring a safe and effective learning and working environment for the entire campus community and welcome back!
––Academic Affairs Team